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Dieters keen on labels linked to healthy foods rather than true content

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A shopper examines the label on a product. Diet enthusiasts are sensitive to certain taboo food names like pasta, ice cream, chips and sweet. Photo/FILE

A shopper examines the label on a product. Diet enthusiasts are sensitive to certain taboo food names like pasta, ice cream, chips and sweet. Photo/FILE 

By Time

Posted  Wednesday, April 27  2011 at  00:00

It is important to note here that we do not believe that the reason non-dieters’ ratings are immune to the impact of food name is that these individuals tend to evaluate foods more systematically than dieters. In fact, we argue that the reason the product name does not influence non-dieters’ evaluations is that they have neither the motivation to spontaneously evaluate the healthfulness of foods nor the implicit associations between certain food categories and healthfulness that dieters do. In other words, people who aren’t preoccupied with weight loss simply care less about this stuff. In another experiment, dieters and non-dieters were asked to rate the healthfulness and tastiness of sour Jelly Belly jelly beans - presented as either “fruit chews” or “candy chews.”

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Not only were dieters more likely to rate the candy chews as less healthy than non-dieters did, but also, ironically, they ate more of the snack when it was referred to as fruit chews.

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